As previously mentioned, the challenge ultimately becomes striking the right balance between the compensation Atlanta expects and the portion of the $15.3 million guaranteed salary that the Falcons will pay to facilitate a trade. Before that can happen, however, one or more other teams have to want to do the deal.
The reduced salary cap becomes a factor when it comes to finding a fit for Jones. With the cap roughly $25 million lower this year than it would have been but for the pandemic, adding $15.3 million won’t be an easy feat for many of the teams that could use him.
To date, few if any reports have emerged regarding teams looking to trade for Jones. The most intriguing option could be the Packers. Yes, they’re pressed against the cap. But if they can get the Falcons to pay roughly $5 million of the Jones salary and present the possibility to quarterback Aaron Rodgers along with a contract that includes significant guarantees and a no-trade clause, would that be enough to un-burn the bridge?
The Packers likely would need to perform other salary-cap prestidigitation in order to make it all work. (A Davante Adams restructuring would be the easiest way to do it, given an eight-figure salary that can be converted to a signing bonus.)
If the Packers could pull it off, should they? From a football standpoint, the idea of Rodgers, Adams, and Jones together would strike fear in the rest of the conference — and possibly make the difference between the Packers making it to the NFC Championship (again) and getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 11 years.
The Packers would have to want to do it. And then the possibility would have to make Rodgers willing to let bygones be bygones and embrace a chance to get over the hump before his days in Green Bay are gone by.